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The Language Instinct Audiobook

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

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Publisher's Summary

In this classic, the world’s expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution.

The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

©2011 Steven Pinker (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Pinker writes with acid verve." (Atlantic Monthly)

"An extremely valuable book, very informative, and very well written." (Noam Chomsky)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (511 )
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4.1 (422 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-17-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Horrible vocal performance"

    I could not finish listening to this book...the narrator's hypercorrected unnatural pronunciation grated on my ears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    words 01-11-15
    words 01-11-15
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    "nice background - field has advanced since publish"

    Important background to linguistics and cognitive science wrt language, though readers should follow up with more recent accounts of particular areas of interest (good suggestions in the afterward).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Samuel Aldrich Yokota AB, JP 12-17-14
    Samuel Aldrich Yokota AB, JP 12-17-14 Member Since 2014

    Samuel Aldrich

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    "Overly Detailed"

    If you're a English Major or language major in general, you might like this book. Otherwise, you're will to listen will me smashed in by this book's huge list type example methodology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RI in Canada 11-07-14
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    "Too much detail in the middle"

    I'd give it a mixed review. The book has many details at the level of morphemes that are pretty hard to listen to, but I know I'd never have finished the book reading. Some of the data is dated (e.g. genome mapping, brain hemisphere stuff), which does reduce the credibility of some of the arguments. He also seems to be pretty selective in cherry-picking data to support his ideas. Still though, I learned a lot and enjoyed most of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lloyd SOUTHLAKE, TX, United States 09-05-14
    Lloyd SOUTHLAKE, TX, United States 09-05-14
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    "Great Listen. Recommended it to everyone."
    If you could sum up The Language Instinct in three words, what would they be?

    It was a great book. I am a speech therapist so my interest in this topic would probably be greater than other listeners. It can not be stressed enough, the ability to use language is such a driving force, its is what makes is human. Why wouldn't everyone want to know more about it? The fair use doctrine get a bit bruised in the Great Courses on the same topic by borrowing so heavily from this book. I would recommend using this as a great source.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Language Instinct?

    I really like his viewpoint when discussing how monkeys have DNA that is 99% identical to human. His discussion on evolution was insightful. It really put it in prospective.


    Which character – as performed by Arthur Morey – was your favorite?

    IT was Fine. His frontal lisp (distortion of "s") was noticeable but not a distraction. I only mention it because others made a big deal about it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was a book I did not want to stop listening. But I am unique in my appreciation of his book. I think the average person who is interested in the topic would really like it. It get a bit boggy around chapter four. It's readability level might require someone to possess an undergraduate or graduate degree.


    Any additional comments?

    It does listen like a text book but is that bad?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dimitri 09-02-14
    Dimitri 09-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Long-winded and boring"

    I happened to start listening to this book after listening to a few of The Great Courses lectures on language by John McWorther, which were excellent - both interesting and entertaining.
    This book, in comparison, sounds almost like a textbook on linguistics. The concepts a much belaboured on, with excruciating details of the experiments conducted, complete with tedious and long explanations of what it means; when most people would get it themselves early into the passage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Markham Australia 02-16-14
    Amanda Markham Australia 02-16-14 Listener Since 2008
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    "Narrators MUST Do Their Homework"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I'd originally read The Language Instinct about ten years ago, so I knew what to expect. My feelings about the book haven't changed - I think throwing out the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis completely and Pinker's ridiculous attack on the social sciences weaken an otherwise excellent book. I was pleased to see that this new version includes updates with the latest research.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Arthur Morey’s performances?

    Morey's performance was average at best. When reading a technical/academic text like this, mispronunciations of terms and the names of Amazonian and Australian Aboriginal peoples is unforgivable. 'Warrrlll-pearee' for Warlpiri (prounounced wall-PREE)? Really?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael United States 06-28-13
    Michael United States 06-28-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Textbook For Linguists"
    Any additional comments?

    I have always had an interest in language, but this book goes WAY too in-depth for my interests. I enjoyed the first quarter of the book and it held my interest with cognitive science and evolutionary theory related to language development. Then it moved long-term into highly-detailed language structure and other details that couldn't hold my attention - think 9th grade grammar on steroids. I stuck with it for a few more hours and also tried skipping ahead, but I knew I was wasting my time and bailed on it half way through. It didn't help that the narrator is the type who over-enunciates and has a passionless, unnatural speaking style that reminds you with every syllable that they are a professional narrator with apparently zero interest in the topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riona Johannesburg, South Africa 06-21-13
    Riona Johannesburg, South Africa 06-21-13
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    "Interesting but more technical than expected"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is a long book, and I found myself skipping forwards through sections as it does become quite technical in parts - more so than I expected.

    having said that, it is full of information, interesting anecdotes and case studies, but some of it is difficult to listen to (as opposed to read) given how complex the detail in parts


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Irving, Texas 05-22-13
    Rick Irving, Texas 05-22-13 Member Since 2003

    Rick

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    "Books on language are best on audio"

    This is a reissue of a classic book from 1994. Arthur's reading is well paced with a calm manor allowing the listener to follow some intense sentence diagrams without the expected PTSD flashbacks from Mrs. Thomas' 8th grade English class. It is an enjoyable book, an interesting subject, precisely written, read well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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